This second season of The Expanse has more or less been outstanding and this week they closed out the season with another fairly strong episode. After the end of the last episode, this one figured to be a bit heavier on the action and it didn’t disappoint in that regard.
We pick up the season finale aboard Jules-Pierre Mao’s ship with his men in a standoff with Avasarala, Bobbie and Coyter. It’s a bold move for Mao, Avasarala is a high ranking official in the UN after all, and having her killed would undoubtedly have far reaching ramifications. The standoff plays as you might expect as Coyter is hit in the initial exchange of gunfire, essentially putting a timer on the situation because he’ll eventually bleed out. This leaves Bobbie as their best chance of survival.
Though Frankie Adams has been solid in her portrayal of Bobbie Draper all season, we didn’t really get to see her kick as much ass as we thought we might going into the season. That finally changed since her role in this episode is essentially that of John McClane in Die Hard, as she makes her way through the ship dispatching guards as she goes. She gets a couple of fun one-liners and she even has to climb through air ducts and elevator shafts. That said, as great as it was to see her in action, this episode also illustrates the change she’s gone through as a character. As a viewer you wouldn’t have expected the proud Martian marine to wind up fighting for and saving Chrisjen Avasarala, of all people.
Meanwhile on the Rocinante, Naomi quickly discovers that a Protomolecule Being stowed away on one of the lower decks. Obviously this effectively ramps up the tension aboard the ship as they’re fairly aware of what this thing is capable of after the last episodes. It’s kind of curious then when only Holden and Amos suit up to go into the compartment to try and kill it. They’re able to hurt it a little but it really only seems slightly stunned more than anything before it retaliates by hurling a massive crate at the two of them, with Holden becoming pinned by the crate while Amos is forced to retreat. Luckily for Holden, the Protomolecule Being is more interested in clawing its way to the reactor core to feed on the radiation… though that will kill all of them. All of this creates a maelstrom of tension which allows for some great moments.
In a very touching moment Holden has a talk with Naomi and he sounds like a man who knows he’s not going to make it out alive. Considering earlier events in the season – namely Miller meeting his end on Eros – that seems entirely possible. Without that possibility seeming like a legitimate outcome, the scene between the two of then could have fallen flat. Instead, riding on fantastic performances from Steven Strait and Dominique Tipper, the scene plays out beautifully. For a good portion of the season the two have been sort of hot and cold but in this scene, the proverbial walls come down and you see a more vulnerable side to both of them. They both seem to have found a new sense of clarity which should be beneficial going forward.
Of course, there is still the problem that the Protomolecule Being poses to them all. Naturally the newcomer to the ship would be the one to figure out a way to save their skins. Together, Prax and Naomi are able to lure it to the outer hull of the ship using the core of one of their nuclear torpedoes. The plan works perfectly as Prax tosses the core into space and the Protomolecule Being jumps after it, resolving the crisis on the Rocinante.
With all of the action in this episode, they still managed to deliver a really weird scene in the closing moments of the episode. The research team above Venus recklessly decides to descend into the corrosive atmosphere to try and get more readings on the impact crater. As they get nearer to Eros, they stop unexpectedly. Suddenly, it seems as if the Protomolecule from Eros deconstructs every portion of the ship leaving the crew strangely floating there, consciously looking around.
On the whole, the finale did a lot of things really well as it tied up some loose ends and raised new questions for next season.
GEEK Grade: A-
The Expanse has quickly become one of the best and most notable sci-fi shows to come out in quite some time. The series will return for a third season on Syfy next year.
Written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck & Naren Shankar
Directed by Thor Freudenthal